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Dr. Ethington enjoys the brilliant, beautiful, and challenging ideas one encounters in mathematics on a daily basis and he enjoys working with the many wonderful students at Averett, helping them mature into young mathematicians who are able to learn on their own by the time they graduate. He believes that one learns mathematics by doing mathematics on a regular basis. He gives students ample opportunity to show what they know.

In his opinion, the analytical skills one develops and uses in mathematics are not unlike those used when analyzing a poem, short story, play, or a novel. In other words, these skills have universal application.

He particularly enjoys hearing from former students about how Averett has made a difference in their lives.

Dr. Ethington was the first recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Member award in 1987-88 and received it again in 2003-2004, becoming the first two-time recipient of the award.

Question: How strong is your intuition? Can you always rely on it?

Consider the following problem: Suppose the earth is a perfect sphere, with a perfectly smooth surface, and you wrap a piece of wire around the equator, obtaining a circle. Take this open circle of wire, weld 3 feet of additional wire to it to form another circle. Then, using small sticks, prop up the new circle of wire uniformly off the ground around the equator. Here is the big question: Can a chicken walk under the wire? (Translation: How high off the ground is the wire?) What does your intuition tell you? What does the mathematics tell you?

A related problem: Do a similar thing with a basketball, a piece of wire, and still add 3 feet. Take the chicken, put stickum on its feet, and stick the chicken on the basketball. Now, can the chicken walk under the wire on the basketball? Hmmm?


Doctor of Philosophy: mathematics, University of Georgia. Dissertation directed by Dr. Thomas Brahana.

Master of Science
: mathematics, Mississippi State University. Thesis directed by Dr. Robert Heller.

Bachelor of Arts
: mathematics and English, Centre College (of Kentucky).


Algebra and analysis.